London, Sep 4 (Calcutta Tube) Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has put up on sale his ‘modest’ second home, which dragged him in an expense row just before the parliamentary election.
The Liberal Democrat leader was at the centre of controversy earlier this year over expenses claimed for the semi-detached family home in his constituency, and promised to hand any profits from a future sale back to the taxpayer, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.
Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzalez Durantez will have to look for another house in the Liberal leader’s Sheffield constituency.
Clegg vowed that any profit he makes on his Sheffield property ‘will go straight back to the taxpayer’.
But his pledge not to cash in on the property may not be put to the test, as Clegg and his wife Miriam could end up making a loss on the house, leaving the taxpayer shortchanged, the report said.
The couple are believed to have bought the three-bedroom semi-detached house for around 279,000 pounds in 2005, the year Clegg became an MP.
The house is yet to be advertised by agents and the sale price is not known, but similar properties in the area have been going for 250,000-plus pounds.
Before the general election it was revealed that Clegg had claimed 84,000 pounds in four years on the home which he described as a modest property that was in a poor state of repair when he bought it.
The claims included 2,600 pounds towards a new kitchen and 5,857 pounds on decorating. Clegg bought cushions, napkins and a cake pan, and spent 850 pounds on curtains and blinds. He also regularly paid a gardener 160 pounds a month.
He was later ordered to repay 910 pounds by Sir Thomas Legg for gardening costs. The rest of his claims were judged to have been within the rules.
In 2009, in the wake of the British parliamentary expenses scandal, Legg was appointed to chair an independent panel with remit to examine all claims relating to second homes allowance between 2004 and 2008.
When questioned in a television interview, Clegg said: ‘It’s a modest semi-detached home. It was in a state of complete disrepair, the garden was a complete eyesore, it hadn’t been touched for ages.’
‘I need to keep it in basic working order, I needed to make sure that the garden wasn’t a complete eyesore and I did that with the money that was made available to me as an MP so that I can live and work in two places.’
‘But, crucially it’s not my home, it’s yours, it’s the taxpayers. Any gain on it when I sell it, which I will do very soon, after the election, will go straight back to the taxpayer,’ Clegg said.
Clegg is legally obliged to maintain a home in his constituency and he must either buy or rent a replacement property.
A spokesman for the deputy prime minister confirmed Friday he was planning to sell his Sheffield home and look for a property to rent in line with the new expenses rules for MPs’ second homes.
The spokesman also confirmed Clegg’s intention not to profit from the transaction.